Two people were killed in a Sumter County, Florida automobile accident. According to a report by the Florida Highway Patrol, a 47 year old man from Lake Panasoffkee was driving a 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue south on County Road 474 just south of County Road 312 when his car crossed the centerline and hit a 2013 Hyundai Sonata. The Sonata was driven by a 36 year old male from Bushnell, Florida and the police report cites that he had not been wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene.
Based on the facts at hand, it seems as if the driver of the 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue caused the accident. Typically, this would mean that the victim, in this case the driver of the 2013 Hyundai Sonata, would have legal grounds to seek compensation from the other driver for the damages he sustained as a result of the accident. This is because, according to Florida personal injury law, if the negligent or reckless actions of another person cause you injury, then you can sue them for damages. Here, however, the victim died. In such cases, Florida’s wrongful death statute will come into play.
According to the wrongful death statute, if one would have been entitled to damages under the personal injury laws had they survived the accident, then this right to seek compensation will pass on to surviving family (most often limited to a surviving spouse and children). So the question here then is, would the victim have been entitled to damages had he survived. At first glance, it would seem so. After all, the other driver crossed the centerline and hit him.
However, here the victim was not wearing his seatbelt. If it is shown that this fact caused in full or in part his death, this could significantly impact the right to recover. According to Florida’s contributory negligence rules, any financial recovery will be reduced by the percentage of the victim’s own fault. Thus, if not wearing the seatbelt is found to be 25% of the cause for the death, and the other driver’s reckless action the other 75%, then any financial award will be reduced by 25%.
To learn more about how Florida’s personal injury, wrongful death and contributory negligence laws could apply to your case, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. today.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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